Budget-proof Pilates

In an effort to create inexpensive Pilates for those who love the Pilates method but have found that the economy has them choosing necessities over Pilates group classes and private lessons, internationally acclaimed Pilates instructor trainers Katherine and Kimberly Corp have devised an effective solution. Their modus is the internet and their intentions are in your best interest. Launching the first-ever Pilates workout website, Ultimate Pilates Workouts.com makes the high quality and expert Pilates instruction available to the clientele at the Corps’ premier NYC-Pilates studio available to everyone and anyone, with two major causes in mind: time and affordability. They’ve taken their Pilates on Fifth repertoire to the internet! And, all you need is a computer connected to the worldwide web.

There is no need to forego your favorite Pilates workouts either at home or at your Pilates studio. Katherine and Kimberly Corp have created a comprehensive, perfect for all levels, workout library online for the convenience of our Pilates-at-home clientele! The website, entitled “Ultimate Pilates Workouts” (www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com) features both full-length workout videos and classic training exercises. Ultimate Pilates Workouts is free to join, and by selecting the membership category that best accommodates your personal needs and interests opens up access to full-length mat, small equipment, and specialty workouts! Each month the website features four unique workout videos to its members… free! This month stars the following 60-minute mat workouts:

My First Pilates Workout
Bride to Be
Morning Low Back Care
The “I don’t have to workout” Workout

The innovative site also offers a unique exercise catalogue for the reformer, cadillac, chair, and barrel equipment. Brand-new, target-area, and thoroughly instructed workouts are added each month to spice up variety for each of our member’s workout regime. The first website of its kind, Ultimate Pilates Workouts aims to offer Pilates workouts tailored to individuals with lower back pain, pregnancy, athletes, dancers, seniors, and the everyday Pilates enthusiast alike! The broad range of videos available to both view and download make Pilates accessible to anyone, anywhere at anytime!

Do you want to improve your golf swing? Ultimate Pilates Workouts.com can make it happen. Do you want to be able to lift your grandchild without lower back pain? Katherine and Kimberly will help you achieve your goal. Do you want to develop long, strong muscles, improve your posture, or increase your flexibility? Tell them, and they’ll help you achieve them.

Don’t wait any longer! Visit www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com! And, don’t hesitate to forward any questions or concerns to their courteous and knowledgeable staff by email to info@ultimatepilatesworkouts.com.

December 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

A new fan of ActivCore at Pilates on Fifth!

ActivCore FEX at Pilates on Fifth

On March 13 & 14, 2010, we conducted our fifth ActivCore FEX™ Basic Course for Pilates instructors, Physical Therapists and fitness professionals.  We had eight attendees in the course, and it went fabulously!  We were especially happy to have Tyler Joyce, a Physical Therapist from Princeton Orthopaedic Association assisting the course as well.  Below is a testimonial from one of the students.

My first encounter with ActivCore FEX was at Pilates on Fifth here in New York City. Being a former competitive swimmer, professional trained dancer, and Pilates instructor I assumed I would have enough core strength, flexibility, and muscle control to tackle the ActivCore exercises – I was quickly humbled. I began using ActivCore at Pilates on Fifth and since then have experienced a significant change in my core strength, upper body strength, balance, and overall control and awareness of my body. I also had an adductor injury acquired from dancing and was working with physical therapists as well as practicing Pilates to try and recover from the injury. In doing the ActivCore exercises I was able to recover fully from my injury as well as pinpoint the weaker muscles and strengthen them to prevent a further occurrence. I decided without hesitation to take the certification course. Since then I have been using ActivCore with clients. I have found concepts that some clients had a hard time finding, such as core engagement, with able to quickly tap into with ActivCore. Not only this, but clients get excited with the rapid improvement they see. ActivCore has truly influenced me personally as a dancer, but has also made a significant impact on my clients.

April 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

MELT Your Body Workshop at Pilates on Fifth!!

Pilates on Fifth is proud to be hosting our first MELT Method workshop at our New York Pilates Studio on Monday, March 22 at 11am!  The MELT Method was created by Sue Hitzmann, and she and the MELT Method were just featured on LIVE with Regis & Kelly with resounding success.  View the clip of the presentation here (www.meltmethod.com).  The class will be held in our spacious, sunlit, penthouse Pilates studio from 11am-12:15pm.

Now you can experience  this amazing method for yourself!  Discover the benefits of MELT Your Body:

  • Prevent pain
  • Heal injury
  • Erase the negative effects of aging
  • Improve efficiency and performance
  • Reduce stress

Register in advance and save!!  Only $15 if you register in advance, $19 on the day of the workshop.  Purchase your spot in the workshop online here (link to http://shop.pilatesonfifth.com/category_s/36.htm) email us at workshops@pilatesonfifth.com or call 212-687-8610.  Space is limited, so register soon to reserve your spot.

Join advanced MELT instructor Karen Wells from Karen Wells Fitness.  Karen teaches at Georgia State University and has taught MELT to the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the American Dance Festival, and Atlanta’s Several Dancers Core, just to name a few!  To learn more about MELT, go to www.meltmethod.com or check out www.facebook.com/karewellsfitness.

March 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

How to maximize your Pilates personal training and group class revenue during a recession

During this tough economic climate, Pilates instructors find themselves with a smaller client base than they did two, even three years ago.  For instance, at our New York studio, Pilates on Fifth, our numbers are still down about 30% from what they were two years ago.  Ouch!!  But we are not alone.  We are fortunate to know Pilates studio, Yoga studio, and even spa owners around the country, and most are experiencing a similar situation.

So then, the big question is “how do we Pilates instructors retain our clients and thus maximize our revenue?”

Let’s start with what NOT to do!

1)  Take your discouragement with your personal financial situation with you to the studio, the home of your clients, the gym, etc.  After all, it’s PERSONAL training, and your personality is a large part of what helped you retain the client in the first place!  So remember, it’s your personality that could lose them as well.

2)  Talk about yourself and your personal life.  Now is the time to make sure that you are focused entirely on your client or the students in your class in their hour.  Phoning it in will not gain you clients or help you retain them either!!

3)  Raise prices unnecessarily in your attempt to make up for the decrease in clients.  While it might be necessary to raise prices due to increased costs you might be incurring, make sure you know exactly why you are raising the prices, and if you do, make sure that the service you are delivering eclipses the percentage increase tenfold!

That being said, let’s talk about the more positive side of what you SHOULD do!!

1)  Be completely invested in your clients’ progress in results.  If you don’t invest in them, how can you expect them to invest in you?  Take a moment to ask yourself if you’ve seen them make progress in the past two months.  If the answer is no, then think of what you can do to program more effectively.

2)  Mutually re-evaluate your clients’ goals.  Let them know that you want them to reach their goals, whatever they may be.  Additionally, by setting goals together, you can motivate your clients to make their appointments and show up both in body and mind to each and every lesson.  After all, we don’t want our clients phoning it in either!  Goal setting also allows you, the instructor, to create benchmarks which you can then use to chart your clients’ progress.  Once they see their own records of improvement, they’re more likely to keep at it.

3)  Bring your A++ game to the table every lesson or class, every time.  No excuses!  We recently had a conversation with our top instructors at Pilates on Fifth, and across the board, we noticed that regardless of teaching style, our best instructors are the ones who are excited about the hour, keep the energy up, and keep their clients moving.  Ironically, in doing so (and we all agreed on this!) the hour FLIES by… and that’s never a bad thing, right?

4)  Make it ENJOYABLE!!!  Exercise is one of the BEST forms of stress relief, so keep that in mind!

All in all, we’ve noticed that our best instructors have not only retained, but GAINED clients, even with this crazy economic climate.  Hopefully these tips we’ve provided will help others gain and retain lots of clients, both for group mat classes and for private lessons!!!

March 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

Programming for Results Workshop on February 17 at Pilates on Fifth, NYC!

The second annual Pilates Programming for Results Workshop was held at Pilates on Fifth in NYC on Wednesday, February 17.  We had a great group, all of whom are certified Pilates instructors interested in spicing up their routines.  As our NYC Pilates studio offers Pilates mat classes, Pilates Reformer & Chair Classes and well as private instruction in Pilates, we had a lively discussion about designing workouts for maximum effectiveness for each of these groups.

Pilates Reformer and Chair Class at Pilates on Fifth

August 2010 will mark the tenth anniversary of Pilates on Fifth, and over these ten years, Katherine & Kimberly have learned that programming successfully is the key not only to the clients’ progress, but to client retention as well.  It’s the delicate balance of the clients’ needs vs. their wants, the art of testing the threshold of their abilities without pushing too far, combined with the talent of making the workout both fun and effective at the same time.  We talked about how the different pieces of Pilates equipment relate to each other in terms of strength, coordination, stability and body awareness required, and we also highlighted the different attributes of each.

Danielle Russo, certified Pilates Instructor and Artistic Director of The Danielle Russo Dance Company, had the following to say about the workshop:

“Programming for Results pulls together everything you’ve gained as an Instructor with PAI, and applies it to the reality of client retention. With today’s reality of personal fitness and finance, it’s even more important to understand how to approach the field not only as an intelligent instructor, but as a business-person. You want to give your client a safe, smart and beneficial workout, and you want them to come back for more! This course helps you create a fitness program that will both foster healthful improvement for your client, as well as a loyal instructor-client network.”

Because of the fabulous reception, we will be holding another Programming for Results workshop on April 9, 2010.  Contact chie@pilatesonfifth.com for more information!

February 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

NEW XTEND™ CLASSES AT PILATES ON FIFTH!!!!

Pilates on Fifth Instructor Haley teaching Knee Raises in XTEND™ Barre Workout Warm Up

Pilates on Fifth Instructor Michelle teaching Triceps Press in Arm Sculpting Portion of XTEND™ Barre Workout

Pilates on Fifth is happy to welcome a new addition to its Pilates NYC family: the XTEND™ Barre Workout,  Pilates and Dance Amplified!  We love Pilates, we love CARDIOLATES®, and now we have a new love, XTEND™!!  For years we’ve been longing to go back to ballet class, but never could quite find the time amidst our busy schedules.  On top of that, we were hesitant to go back to ballet class, fearful of how we would feel while our brains remembered how to execute the technique, only to have our bodies betray us…..  XTEND™ has been the answer!  It not only adds a vertical element to all the Pilates mat exercises and Pilates Reformer work that we do, but we feel like we’ve taken a complete ballet class, without the fuss!

Pilates on Fifth Instructor Michelle teaching Hamstring Press Series with XTEND™ Ball at the Barre

Pilates on Fifth Instructor Michelle teaching Hamstring Press Series with XTEND™ Ball at the Barre

We chose XTEND™ because of its blend of Pilates AND dance.  The symmetry is there, the muscle toning, the grace the balance…. Everything!  The class starts with a brief warm up to get the blood flowing, and then progresses to muscle-chiseling arm exercises with light free weights, all to upbeat music to keep the energy flowing.  And then comes the barre work….. we LOVE the barre work!!  The XTEND™ Barre workout devotes equal attention to the front AND back line of the body, working the quads, the glutes, the calves…. The key muscles that will create beautifully sculpted legs and a super lifted butt!  In fact, our clients remark that they leave the class feeling like their butts are about 1 ½ inches higher than they were when they came in!  After the barre work, we slither to the floor for INTENSE ab exercises as well as some additional seat lifting treasures.  The result?  A well-balanced, total body workout that ROCKS and keeps your heart rate up throughout!!  …A PERFECT complement to your NYC Pilates classes and CARDIOLATES® workouts.

Pilates on Fifth Owner Kimberly Corp demonstrating Powerful Plank Series in XTEND™ Barre Workout

Interested in a class?  Click here to see our group exercise class schedule at Pilates on Fifth.  We have XTEND® classes daily!  Are you a Pilates professional or becoming a Pilates instructor?  Then you might be interested in our XTEND™ Teacher Training!  The next course is February 25-27 at our NYC Pilates studio.  Spaces are still available!  Sign up at www.xtendworkout.com

Pilates on Fifth Instructor Haley teaching the XTEND™ Fold over series at the Barre

Pilates on Fifth owner Katherine Corp teaching XTEND™ Passe Abs Series

February 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

ActivCore® Fast Track Basic and Intermediate Courses at Pilates on Fifth

Kimberly and Katherine Corp taught 4 intensive days of ActivCore® training to Pilates professionals, PT’s and GYROTONIC® instructors from Pilates on Fifth in NYC, from Brooklyn, and from Toronto, Canada. This fast track course was structured with the ActviCore FEX® Basic course on days 1 & 2, followed by the ActivCore FEX® intermediate course 5 days later. Thus, students could complete the required Basic course plus the 25 practice hours before moving on to Intermediate.

Toni Mercogliano doing "Pec Flies" on ActivCore®

The course covers the gamut of exercises in ActivCore’s Function EXercise curriculum.  The Basic course covers highly effective exercises for the lower body, including outer thighs, inner thighs, glutes & hamstrings, as well as upper body exercises for the chest, back and arms.  Despite the varying strength levels in the class, everyone easily found a version that he/she could do effectively.  And all participants saw immediate improvement.  For example, Rena Lichtblau, owner of Pilates by Rena noticed that after the first day, the pain in her hip was diminished while the range of motion increased, and EVERYONE was sore from the upper body exercises, especially the pull ups!

The next four days were spent practicing the exercises, both doing them and teaching them.  …And there was no shortage of volunteers at Pilates on Fifth of Pilates instructors and clients to work with the ActivCore FEX® system and experience the results.  We even held an in-house ActivCore® workshop during this 4 day break for all Pilates on Fifth’s ActivCore® graduates, with much success.  Kurt Gorrell, a Pilates instructor at Pilates on Fifth as well as a gymnastics instructor at Chelsea Piers and Suzanne Gerdes, another Pilates instructor at the studio and a graduate student of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Columbia University, were in attendance, creating workout plans to use with their clients.

The second weekend, the Intermediate FEX course, commenced with learning the EXTREME exercises.  Sound daunting?  Well it is!!!  These exercises take the ActivCore® exercises from the Basic Course, and take them to the next level.  This provided the immediate opportunity to introduce the most unique feature of the Redcord Equipment, the bungees!  Participants were able to experience the magic of weightlessness, even with the most difficult of exercises.  It’s really not magic, but the feeling is so incredible that it almost feels as such!  For example, take the exercise below, the Side Plank.  This exercise is VERY challenging, requiring a great deal of strength in both the abductor of the bottom leg, the obliques, and the shoulder girdle stabilizers.  For many people, this would call for too much strength, which is why the ActivCore FEX® Intermediate series teaches how to place a sling around the pelvis to take the offweight the body.  Voila!  A previously insurmountable exercise is do-able!!  Toni Mercogliani, owner of Toni PT and Pilates, loved the offweighting techniques because of the easy crossover and application with her Physical Therapy clients.  She also loved the upper body exercises, as shown!

Kurt Gorrell from Pilates on Fifth doing "Side Plank"

The final day of the fast track course ended with a written exam as well as a practical review of all the material covered in both courses.  Here are some pictures of the exercises covered!

February 4, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . ACTIVCORE®, Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

POSTURE ANALYSIS AND PILATES

This past weekend the Pilates Academy International held its very popular Anatomy, Biomechanics and Posture Analysis course at the Instructor Training headquarters at Pilates on Fifth in New York City.  The course was taught by Katherine Corp and Anna Hillengas, and was well received by the participants, a great group comprised of Pilates instructors and people who wish to become a Pilates instructor from New York, Philadelphia, Japan, Sydney and Spain.

My favorite part of the course is the Posture Analysis, as this is the point in the course where the somewhat “rote” memorization of anatomy and biomechanics comes to life in three dimension.   Suddenly the students discover their own postural abnormalities and can link their own posture to a muscle/group of muscles that are tight or loose, too-strong or too weak, or over/under-developed.  …And then there’s the “EUREKA!” moment, in which students realize WHY they’ve been having problems with a certain exercise or group of exercises.

Natural Curves of a Healthy Spine

Take, for instance, the case of excessive kyphosis of the thoracic spine.  While the thoracic spine is supposed to have a slight curve posteriorly (see picture right), the curve can become excessive, as in the picture below (see picture below).  In this type of posture, the muscles in the FRONT of the shoulder, the pectoralis major, minor, and anterior deltoids are usually tight, while the muscle in the back of the shoulder girdle, the middle & lower traps and the rhomboids, are usually long and weak as well.   The muscles in the back of the neck, the cervical extensors, however, will usually be tight.  While every case is unique, just by looking at the posture, you can assume that exercises like Breast Stroke and Swimming will be very difficult, if not impossible to perform with a great deal of success IN THEIR ORIGINAL PILATES FORM!  It is the job of the Pilates Instructor to find a way to work around the initial postural stumbling blocks so that clients can perform Pilates safely  (click here for our safety videos on Ultimate Pilates Workouts.com).  We suggest modifying exercises to start upright, or lying at the edge of a bed (or a Cadillac) to work the extensors just to bring the spine into a more neutral alignment.

Kyphosis

Curvature of the Lumbar Spine

Another example is the case of excessive lordosis of the lumbar spine.  Similar to kyphosis, the lumbar spine has a natural curve, but its curve is anterior (see picture right).  However, the curve can be excessive, as seen in the picture.  For these individuals, oftentimes the external obliques are usually weak, while the hip flexors are very tight.  In the back of the body, the hamstrings are relatively long while the erector spinae are short and tight.  People with lordosis who do Pilates have to be very careful with exercises like The Hundreds, Double Leg Stretch and Teaser, as it will be difficult for them to maintain a strong connection in their abdominal muscles against the weight of the legs.  We suggest starting with seated exercises like Half Roll Down or Obliques Roll Down, and doing supine exercises with the legs in the air with the legs in Table Top, or knees bent.  For more suggestions about Pilates exercises for Lordosis, we suggest you check out one of our Pilates Instruction Manuals or our training videos on Ultimate Pilates Workouts.com.

Vertical, Posterior Tilt and Anterior Tilt of the Pelvis

And finally, just not to leave any postural deviation out, there are those with the flat back posture.  These individuals distinctly do not have curvature in the lumbar spine, and the pelvis is in a posterior tilt as well (see picture left).   In terms of muscles, tight hamstrings are usually rampant, so don’t expect your client (or yourself, for that matter), to be able to sit right up on the sits bones with the legs outstretched in front…. It might not be possible!!  Be prepared to modify the start positions of all Pilates exercises that start seated with the legs straight, such as Spine Twist, Spine Stretch Forward, Saw, etc.  Additionally, the abs may be a little short and tight, so exercises such as Swan Dive, which involve full extension of the spine and lengthening of the abdominal muscles, may be challenging.

It’s actually easy to do a postural assessment on most people, but keep in mind that our abnormalities or affectations are not so big that it’s the first thing noticed.  Don’t try to make yourself (or your friends, for that matter), “fit” into one of the scenarios that we’ve included here.  We’ve mainly included them because it’s oftentimes much easier to understand something when you think of it in terms of extremes, and that’s what these cases are.  For example, Kimberly and I both have scoliosis (but our spines curve in opposite directions…), but it’s not so severe that it’s ever kept us from doing anything.  It merely explains why Katherine tends to roll to the right while doing Rolling Like a Ball, while Kimberly rolls to the left!

You, too can do a quick postural assessment that will help with your Pilates prowess.  In our search for pictures of different postural abnormalities/affectations, we came across a site that gave a how-to for postural assessments, and it’s quite thorough!  As we are not big fans of re-inventing the wheel, we just thought that we’d link to it!  Here is the link for “How do to a Standing Postural Assessment”: http://mindbodyfitness.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_do_a_standing_static_postural_assessment.

In a final note, learning Posture Analysis gives people watching a whole new meaning!!  Try sitting at a Starbucks and doing a quick posture analysis on by passersby, or even a postural analysis on the person standing in front of you at the bank or at the supermarket……  Happy watching!

January 27, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. Leave a comment.

PILATES ADVANCED CHAIR EXERCISES

Kimberly & Katherine recently taught the PAI’s Advanced Chair Course, Chair Progressions & Challenge to a group of fabulous Pilates instructors here at our Pilates studio in NYC.  This was an in-house course for our newer and most promising instructors.  For Katherine & Kimberly, it was an absolute blast to teach, and the instructors thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  We currently have quite a few Pilates Reformer & Chair classes on the schedule at the studio, and so now participants can anticipate even more exciting variety with new chair exercises being introduced in almost every class.

Handstand 3 with Haley

(continued)

Pilates Chairs today have all been developed from Joseph Pilates original design of the Wunda Chair.  All chairs have a platform, with a pedal to which springs attach to either support body weight or create resistance.  Joseph Pilates original chair also double as actual furniture.  Click here for more information.

Torso Press Sitting 5 with Chie

(continued)

Advanced Chair exercises are a FABULOUS way to increase strength and power training in a Pilates workout.  Because chair exercises involve lifting your own body weight and a lot of isometric contractions, your heart rate escalates…. And we know what that means… more calories burned!!!  A skilled instructor can pace the workout appropriately, infusing chair exercises throughout to keep the heart rate at an elevated level throughout the workout.

Side Leg Extension with Katherine

Anyone interested in Pilates for upper body strength will LOVE the chair, as there are great exercises for the triceps, pecs, deltoids and shoulder girdle stabilizers.  The one arm push up, hand on chair is an excellent triceps exercise (and pec!), and the Twist does wonders for the deltoids and the shoulder girdle stabilizers.

We always get questions about the best abdominal exercises and best core strengthening exercises… Enter the Chair! Exercises like Tendon Stretch, Single Leg Extension and Handstand are AMAZING for both abdominal strength and core strength. More importantly, they work your body in different planes of motion, with forces coming from a different plane than usual, giving your neuromuscular system an extra workout as well!

Tendon Stretch with Kimberly

If you have a chair & don’t yet know the advanced exercises for the Pilates chair, visit www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com.  From the shopping cart, you can download full Pilates Chair Workouts or download Pilates Teacher Training Videos on the Pilates Chair.  For a monthly subscription, you can enjoy anytime, anywhere online Pilates workouts on the chair.  In the not too distant future, we’ll be focusing our energies on a “Build a Workout” feature, with blocks of exercises on all Pilates equipment, including the Pilates chair, that can be mixed and matched to create your own unique workout.

And don’t forget that for free Pilates workouts online simply sign up at www.ultimatepilateworkouts.com as a Basic Member and the Pilates videos will stream directly from your computer!

January 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

PILATES AND MUSCLE CONFUSION

One of our viewers recently wrote in, asking us if the principles of muscle confusion can be applied to Pilates.  Programs like P90X have soared in popularity due to the emphasis on Muscle Confusion, and their practitioners have seen amazing results. “Muscle Confusion”, most basically, is derived from two training principles:  the Specificity of Training Principle and the Overload Principle. Both of these principles can be applied to Pilates so that you will continue to reap all the benefits, including flat abs fast, lean legs and a lifted butt, and a stronger core.

The Specificity of Training Principle states that the body will adapt to the specific demand that is placed on it.  If you’re a Pilates beginner, it may take a while for your body to adapt to the new exercises you’ve given it, which is a good thing!  You won’t hit an exercise plateau as quickly as someone who is already fit.  However, once you’re able to do the Pilates exercises correctly in your class, while you will maintain your current level of fitness if you keep doing your Pilates workout in the same way, in the same order, etc., you will not necessarily get stronger and stronger.  This is where the Overload Principle comes into play.

The Overload Principle states that to continually adapt, the body must be placed under a stress that exceeds the body’s current capabilities.  In other words, with Pilates exercises, one must continually work at his/her own edge as opposed to work in the range that’s comfortable.  (That’s why your instructor is continually cueing you to pull in your abs more, to work more deeply, etc.)  This is also why certain exercises should always feel hard!  For example, once your body adapts to “The Hundreds” with your legs bent, you can then straighten the legs, and then proceed to lower them from there…. get it?  And with an exercise like “The Teaser“, the possibilities abound!  Most Pilates exercises can be made either more difficult or more intense relatively simply.

Upon researching more about Muscle Confusion online, we found two interesting articles, one for and one against the idea of muscle confusion.  Both have useful tips you can use (or not use!) in your teaching of Pilates.  One article (http://www.articlesbase.com/muscle-building-articles/how-the-muscle-confusion-principle-can-maximize-your-workouts-911684.html) LOVES the idea of muscle confusion, stating that even if your goal is NOT to build muscle, (and most Pilates enthusiasts are avoiding muscle bulk) you will achieve your goals much faster applying the muscle confusion principles.  On the other hand, the following article (http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Biggest-Muscle-Building-Fallacy-in-Bodybuilding&id=553415) scoffs at the over-emphasis on muscle confusion, pointing out (very convincingly) that if you do not allow your body time to give your brain valuable feedback, then you can’t really accomplish anything.  We agree!  You need to know where you are to really know where you want to go.  Be patient!

So, what’s the final answer?  YES! You absolutely can apply the principles of muscle confusion to Pilates workouts as well, of course dependent upon the type of Pilates that you are doing.  If you are going to a studio where the lesson is exactly the same every time, then, as you pointed out in your email, your body will adapt and eventually plateau to the extent that you stop seeing results.  However, if you are continually varying your Pilates workouts and routines, focusing on different muscle groups AND increasing the difficulty level appropriately, then you have effectively introduced the principle of muscle confusion and thus made it impossible for your body to adapt!  But remember, whether doing Pilates online or in a studio, you don’t want to change things up too quickly!!  Give your body enough time to give you valuable feedback.

For those of you who are utilizing our website for Pilates online, www.ultimatepilatesworkouts.com, we recommend balancing your workouts between total body workouts and targeted workouts, such that are found in the Strong, Svelte & Savvy Series.  If you were to do one of the longer total body workouts on one day, and one of the targeted workouts for arms, legs, butt, back, etc., on alternate days, and then throw in some cardio 2-3 times a week, your muscles would be confused, but balanced and happy as well!  Keep the same Pilates training routine for 2-3 weeks, then increase the difficulty.

Incorporating props is another way to keep your muscles COMPLETELY confused!  The stability ball, foam roller and BOSU(R) will introduce new challenges with both core stability and strength, while the Pilates Ring and Stretch Band can be used to intensify the workload of certain muscle groups and simulate the Pilates equipment, respectively.  It’s all about how you put everything together!!

The bottom line is, even if you find a Pilates video or Pilates DVD that you love, don’t do the same one all the time!!  Our site has over 25 free mat workouts, so we encourage people to try different ones so that different muscle groups are continually being worked and challenged, and new exercises are continually being introduced.  Our new Pilates iphone app (debuting soon!!) will have workout plans included, so follow one of those for great success!

January 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, UltimatePilatesWorkouts.com Postings. 1 comment.

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